Modern Buyer businesswoman studying

The Anatomy of the Modern Buyer and the Modern Seller


We often hear the terms Modern Buyer and Modern Seller when it comes to digital selling. But few build a complete and concrete picture as to what these terms actually mean and what are the best techniques to use in the modern business world. To make it even more confusing, sales trainers, as well as professionals, have various definitions.

In this article, I try to provide a complete picture of the Modern Buyer and Modern Seller to help clarify any confusion in the marketplace.

The Shifting Sales Landscape

In today’s modern and digital-first world, everything is accessible within a few clicks of a thumb. We now have access to all the information we need and just like you and me, the modern B2B buyer relies on it when trying to solve their pain points.

This has shifted the sales landscape. The Modern Buyer is able to perform this independent research without having to engage with salespeople. This is why they often engage with sellers later in the buying process, which has made it harder for sales reps to build relationships.

Who Is the Modern Buyer?

While there is more information available to the modern buyer, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for relationships with sellers.

In fact, according to CSO Insights’ Buyer Preferences Study, 90% of buyers would be willing to engage with sellers earlier in the buying process. The trouble is, sellers aren’t providing enough value to differentiate themselves from other options.

Overall, the Modern Buyer is more informed, harder to reach, and less likely to spend time exploring options with sellers early in the buying process. Below are more details about how the Modern Buyer has changed the sales process.

Even before reaching out to a #sales rep, the Modern Buyer has already done their research about solutions to their pain points as well as companies who can reliably provide them. #B2BSales #ContentMarketing @LinkedInExpertClick To Tweet

Key Characteristics of the Modern Buyer

The Modern Buyer Googles first–they research for customer reviews, ratings, and recommendations. Afterward, they make a shortlist of businesses who can provide the solution to their pain points.

They read articles and blogs, watch videos and download whitepapers from these shortlisted companies to gauge their credibility and thought leadership. Of course, they only want to interact with organizations who know and understand their problems and can come up with a definitive solution.

This means that in order to succeed in modern sales, sellers must build an online personal brand. Then, when buyers are searching for information, the sellers are viewed as a trusted resource.

Personalization Is Key

The Modern Buyer also performs further research about the people involved in these shortlisted companies because they want to know about their overall customer service. When they engage with the company, will they be met with a personal touch? Is it a real human that they will interact with? Or will they just have to face an FAQ guide? Even before engaging a sales representative from their shortlist of options, they are already in the consideration stage. The Modern Buyer feels that they have clearly identified their challenges and think they know the questions to ask to find the right vendor.

Then, when it comes time to meet with a seller, they will even perform more research. In fact, 62% of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile when considering talking with a sales rep.

Why? Because they want to be as informed as possible.

Relationship Building

The Modern Buyer also relies on referrals—whether it’s through peers, co-workers, or other trusted sources. In fact, 84% of B2B purchases start with a referral. That’s because the Modern Buyer cares about human interaction and excellent customer service, as well as the guidance of those they trust who may have experienced similar issues.

Then, they return to the digital platforms to perform even more research about those referrals. When they do decide to meet with a vendor, they look for a seller who has done at least as much research about them, which is why social selling is so important.

The Modern Buyer wants to learn about the solutions to their challenges, as well as the challenges and options that they haven’t even thought of yet, which means that the seller must have a complete understanding of the challenges the buyer faces. After all, the Modern Buyer is looking for a vendor who will guide them to the best solution that delivers the best results.

And because of that, the Modern Buyer requires a MODERN SELLER.

How Modern Sellers Have Adapted to the New Buyer’s Journey

As the Modern Buyer has changed, sales professionals need to adapt to their new preferences. For instance, cold-calling simply doesn’t work anymore. If you somehow manage to get through, it is disruptive to the buyer and often, they prefer to start their journey by themselves.

To meet the new demands of the Modern Buyer, the Modern Seller must learn how to effectively use digital selling techniques. Often, this includes a behavior shift and a mindset change as organizations and sales leaders need to move away from ineffective, old-school methods.

Identify if your #sales team members are Modern Sellers who attract, teach, and engage #Modern Buyers throughout their sales journey. #Leadership #SalesTips @LinkedInExpertClick To Tweet

Below are the characteristics of the successful Modern Seller.

Modern Seller Skillset

The Modern Seller knows that their digital footprint must be positioned to draw in the targeted buyer. Their LinkedIn profile must be optimized as a resource for buyers that show who they help, how they help, and what companies they have helped in the past.

The Modern Seller does not pitch, rather, educates. The Modern Seller claims their spot as a credible and reliable leader in their field by communicating their insights. They share relevant and helpful content that resonates with their prospects to earn the right to a conversation.

Modern Selling Tools

The Modern Seller knows how to leverage digital and social selling tools. One tool that is most helpful to them is LinkedIn. They know how to use LinkedIn to attract, connect, and engage the right prospects to build relationships with them. They also know how to maximize their connections by asking for referrals from the right people.

The Modern Seller uses content for sales to enable their social selling strategies. This content is aligned with marketing objectives, but is highly tailored for sales reps. These articles, ebooks, whitepapers, and videos engage the Modern Buyer by providing value at different stages of the buying process.

Modern Sales Techniques

Because the Modern Seller knows how to leverage modern selling tools, they also know how to effectively leverage modern sales strategies.

One helpful technique is the PVC Sales Methodology TM, which can be used while prospecting, engagement and re-engagement, as well as when asking referral introductions. The PVC methodology is an outreach method that increases the number of sales conversations by offering personalized communication, providing value, and ending with a clear call-to-action.

How Sales Leaders Help Their Team Engage the Modern Buyer

Sales Leaders know that the buyer’s journey has changed, and also that they have a responsibility to help their team adapt to the new way of approaching sales. With proper social selling training, the Modern Seller can use engagement strategies that lead to an increase in sales conversations and win rates.

To change their behavior, sales teams need more than training. They need effective, ongoing coaching from sales leaders who understand the importance of digital selling techniques to reach the Modern Buyer.

This coaching reinforces the lessons learned during the virtual sales training, by applying the techniques on a day-to-day basis and in real-life situations.

#Sales Leaders know that the buyer’s journey has changed, and also that they have a responsibility to help their team adapt to the new way of approaching sales. #SalesLeadership #DigitalSelling @LinkedInExpertClick To Tweet

Revolutionize Your Sales Strategy for the Modern Buyer

Designing your sales strategy to cater to the modern buyer is critical to your success. Modern sales techniques will help you effectively engage and build relationships with your prospects. And as you already know, impactful engagement increases conversion rates.

The modern buyer is digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile attached and video hungry. Are your sellers? Discover how Digital Selling Benchmark Assessment can identify the weaknesses of your sales team compared to your competitors. And also be sure to read our complete guide to Virtual Selling!


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